Computers and Writing 2005: I don't mean to complain, but…

The “call for papers/proposals” for the 2005 Computers and Writing Conference has just been posted. C&W is by far my favorite conference because it is most specifically about what it is I do as a scholar and a teacher, and it’s just a really friendly and laid-back group of people. I gave my first conference presentation about 11 years or so ago at one of these things, and I always recommend it as a good “first time” presentation kinda place. It’s an understanding and supportive group, I think.

Having said that, I guess I have two somewhat minor complaints about the 2005 conference:

* There doesn’t really seem to be a theme here this year. To quote from the first paragraph on the conference web site:

When computers first came into the writing classroom, they were used mostly as word processing tools, enhancing the capabilities of typewriters by simplifying editing practices. Today, computers and their associated technologies are tools that strongly influence writing, facilitating substantive changes in writing, and perhaps then leading to new forms of writing.

That passage strikes me as overly general and so… 1994. True, C&W does attract a lot of people new to the idea that “computers” (and technology) have something to do with “writing,” but this passage just seems to me like it was written by someone who hasn’t actually been a part of the conversation that’s been going on in theC&W community for the last 10 or so years.

Of course, conference themes are highly overrated anyway.

* I wish it wasn’t in San Francisco, at least not this year. And as I wrote in an earlier post, I wish it wasn’t going to be held in more or less the same place as the CCCCs because it puts me into a situation where I really have to make a choice. I simply can’t afford to go to both, and, unless something dramatic happens, I’ll be skipping C&W this year.

As little as five years ago, the C&W conference had a hard time finding folks willing to host the conference. So the result was (and has continued to be) that the conference would be held anywhere someone was willing to hold it. In recent years, the conference has been in South Dakota, central Illiniois, and Indiana (at Purdue and at Ball State).

I understand the problem the organizers have– sometimes you gotta have it where people are willing to have it. But as I understand it, there is a growing interest in hosting the conference, and it just seems to me that it would have made more sense to try to get the 2005 version of the conference someplace out east and to get the folks at Stanford to do it in 2006.

But hey, I’m not on the inside of how these things are done, and I’m sure there are factors I’m unaware of, too. The advantages of being an outsider, I suppose.

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